Mayors’ and Commissioners’ Caucus supports Regional Chamber agenda items

December 13th, 2013

December 13, 2013

Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus supports Regional Chamber agenda items

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Revitalizing Northeast Indiana's downtowns. Advancing the Big Goal. Matching the federal Manufacturing Tax Deduction. Improving the region's regulatory environment. Expanding broadband access. Supporting advanced-degree programs. The Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus, which is convened by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, recently elected to support these six items from the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana's 2014 Legislative Agenda.

"The Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana actively represents the region's interests at the General Assembly in creating a competitive business climate," said Therese Brown, Allen County commissioner and 2013 co-chair of the Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus. "The Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus is pleased to extend our support to the Chamber's agenda items that we feel will help improve our economic climate and compete for new businesses and talent."

The caucus, which includes elected officials from each of the 10 counties in Northeast Indiana, has volunteered to write letters of support, testify at the legislature and partake in other proactive approaches with state legislators to advance the following six agenda items:

  • Historic Preservation Tax Credit: Revitalizing Northeast Indiana's downtowns - Increase the current cap of $450,000 to $10,000,000 on the historic preservation tax credit and institute a "rurality" index to balance awarded credits between rural and urban cities.
  • Big Goal Incentive Program: Incenting employers to advance the Big Goal among current employees - Initiate a program that incents employers to partner with current employees who have completed at least 50% of the coursework needed to earn a degree or certification.
    • The Big Goal--one of the priorities identified through the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership's Vision 2020 initiative--aims to increase the percentage of Northeast Indiana residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60% by 2025.
  • Manufacturing Tax Deduction - Allow Hoosier manufactures to "couple" a state tax deduction of 9% with the current federal tax deduction.
  • IDEM Initiative: Improving Northeast Indiana's regulatory environment - Limit Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) from "stopping the clock" on business prospects during the permitting process (unless mutually agreed) and allow businesses more flexibility in innovative efforts to become environmentally friendly.
  • Rural Broadband Access: Creating a ConnectIN Council to expand broadband access - Identify best practices for expanding broadband access in underserved area and allow for a sunset and benchmark dates to track progress.
  • ADVANCE Northeast Indiana: Support the implementation of advanced-degree programs at IPFW - Allow Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) to apply directly to the Commission for Higher Education for advanced degree programs and adjust the current funding formula to reflect the unique qualities of IPFW and regional campuses across the state.

"The Regional Chamber appreciates the support of the Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus in advancing items through the legislative process," said Vince Buchanan, executive director of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana. "Having elected officials from across the region united around these six agenda items will reinforce to legislators the importance that these items have on improving the economy in Northeast Indiana."

About the Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus:

Founded in 2012, the Mayors' & Commissioners' Caucus of Northeast Indiana is comprised of the mayors and commissioners of the 10 counties in the Northeast Indiana region. The Caucus provides Northeast Indiana mayors and commissioners with a unified voice in advancing economic development policy matters at the state level. The Caucus uses consensus-based decision making to reach agreement and relies upon cooperation and collaboration to address the region's complex issues. To this end, the Caucus provides a forum for the discussion of common issues and multi-jurisdictional challenges, and serves as a partner and sounding board for leaders from other sectors.

Mayor Terry McDonald of New Haven and Commissioner Ron Smith of Steuben County will serve as 2014 co-chairs of the Caucus. To see a complete list of members, visit the Mayors' and Commissioners' Caucus page on

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit



Courtney Tritch
Marketing Director
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership